More Representative Payee Changes?

Empire Justice Center October 31, 2018

In the April 2018 edition of this newsletter, we reported on statutory changes to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) representative payee program.  Now SSA is proposing new regulations to implement the changes.  According to SSA, the new legislation and proposed regulations “codif[y] our current policy, implemented in February 2014, to conduct criminal background checks on representative payee applicants and prohibit the selection of certain representative payee applicants who have a felony conviction of committing, attempting, or conspiring to commit certain crimes.  In addition, the legislation requires that we conduct criminal background checks on all currently serving representative payees who do not meet one of the exceptions set out in the law, and continue to do so at least once every five years. . . .”


The proposed regulations provide that anyone convicted of certain felonies under federal or state law may not serve as a representative payee.  The crimes include: Human trafficking, false imprisonment, kidnapping, rape or sexual assault, first degree homicide, robbery, fraud to obtain access to government assistance, fraud by scheme, theft of government funds or property, abuse or neglect, forgery, or identity theft or identity fraud.  Conviction of any these crimes, however, will not serve as an absolute bar. According to SSA, it will instead


…consider the criminal history of the applicant along with our other evaluation criteria to decide whether to appoint the applicant as a representative payee.  Consistent with the new law, we will not apply the criminal prohibitions as an absolute bar if the representative payee applicant is: The custodial parent of the minor child beneficiary the representative payee applicant seeks to serve; the custodial parent of the disabled beneficiary the representative payee applicant seeks to serve if the beneficiary’s disability began before the beneficiary attained age 22; the custodial spouse, custodial grandparent of a minor child, or custodial court appointed legal guardian of the beneficiary the representative payee applicant seeks to serve.


Comments on these proposed regulations are due by November 13, 2018.


In more rep payee news, SSA has planned a National Disability Forum on Advance Designation of Representative Payee for Tuesday, October 30, 2018.  Advance Designation is another aspect of the new legislation SSA is trying to implement.


Finally, SSA has announced that individual representative payees can now submit their annual representative payee accounting reports through the my Social Security portal.  Organizational payees must continue to submit annual representative payee accounting forms.  See Internet Representative Payee Accounting Report.